Thursday, February 24, 2011

Guest Posting Tips for Writers

This year, I've broken into guest posting as both a guest poster and as a host of guest posts (over at my Poetic Asides blog). So far, I'm pretty pleased with both sides of the guest posting process. As a writer, it gives me access to an engaged audience I may not usually reach. As a blogger, it provides me with fresh and valuable content I don't have to create. Guest blogging is a rare win-win scenario.

That said, writers could benefit from a few tips on the process of guest posting:
  1. Pitch guest posts like one would pitch articles to a magazine. Include what your hook is for the post, what you plan to cover, and a little about who you are. (Click here to read the newly created My Name Is Not Bob guest post guidelines.)
  2. Offer promotional copy of book (or other giveaways) as part of your guest post. Having a random giveaway for people who comment on a blog post can help spur conversation and interest in your guest post, which is a great way to get the most mileage out of your guest appearance.
  3. Cater posts to audience. As the editor of Writer's Market and Poet's Market, I have great range in the topics I can cover. However, if I'm writing a guest post for a fiction blog, I'll write about things of interest to a novelist--not a poet.
  4. Make personal, but provide nugget. Guest posts are a great opportunity for you to really show your stuff to a new audience. You could write a very helpful and impersonal post, but that won't connect with readers the same way as if you write a very helpful post and personal post that makes them want to learn more about you (and your blog, your book, your Twitter account, etc.). Speaking of which...
  5. Share links to your website, blog, social networks, etc. After all, you need to make it easy for readers who enjoyed your guest post to learn more about you and your projects. Start the conversation in your guest post and keep it going on your own sites, profiles, etc. And related to that...
  6. Promote your guest post through your normal channels once the post goes live. (If you're not used to the whole blogging thing, check out these blogging tips.) Your normal audience will want to know where you've been and what you've been doing. Plus, guest posts lend a little extra street cred to your projects. But don't stop there...
  7. Check for comments on your guest post and respond in a timely manner. Sometimes the comments are the most interesting part of a guest post (no offense). This is where readers can ask more in-depth or related questions, and it's also where you can show your expertise on the subject by being as helpful as possible. And guiding all seven of these tips is this one:
  8. Put some effort into your guest post. Part of the benefit to guest posting is the opportunity to connect with a new audience. Make sure you bring your A-game, because you need to make a good impression if you want this exposure to actually help grow your audience. Don't stress yourself out, but put a little thought into what you submit.
One additional tip: Have fun with it. Passion is what really drives the popularity of blogs. Share your passion and enthusiasm, and readers are sure to be impressed.

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Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer

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By the way, I'm serious about accepting guest post pitches for this blog. I figure if my name's not Bob, there's a good chance yours isn't either. And if it is, maybe you can pitch me on a guest post from an actual Bob. Anyway, click here to read the guest post guidelines.

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If you want to learn more about connecting with readers online (and in person), check out these resources:

4 comments:

Erin Reel said...

Awesome tips, Robert! I'll pass this around my list. I really appreciated you stepping in and commenting back to those who submitted comments in response to your guest post on my blog...and I know the readers certainly did, too!

Robert Lee Brewer said...

Sure thing, Erin. It was a lot of fun.

Shewriting said...

These are great tips, Robert. I am enjoying my experience as a guest writer on Poetic Asides this week, which reminds me - I need to swing by there to see if there are any more comments.

I like that you included the tip about promoting your guest post through your normal networking channels. Not sure if you are aware that by following this tip, my guest post at Poetic Asides made the headlines in a social network paper(via Twitter) called the #poems Daily today (Thursday.) http://paper.li/tag/poems

I think I followed all of your other tips this week except for the give away one, which I completely spaced out on. Darn it! Maybe next time :)

Robert Lee Brewer said...

Thanks for sharing, Sheila, and thanks for guest posting over at Poetic Asides. I know the PA community loved learning more about animating poetry.